Published: August 30, 2022
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Casco Bay Auctions
FREEPORT, MAINE – “Overall, the market seemed strong across the board, a few soft spots as always, but I was overall quite pleased with the results,” said Casco Bay Auctions’ owner Andrew Davis, about a week after the firm’s August 13 “Summer Americana Auction” wrapped. With about 540 lots crossing the block, the sale earned a total of $208,000, with new buyers showing prominence in the sale, even taking five of the top ten lots.
A nautical-themed hooked rug that was attributed to James and Mercedes Hutchinson topped the sale with a price of $10,200. Made in the early Twentieth Century and inscribed “A Sailor Thinks of Distant Friends / Of His Wife and Humble Cot / And From His Inmost Heart Ascends / The Prayer ~ Forget Me Not,” it came from a local private collector and sold to a local collector Davis said had been a long-time client of the auction house. Additionally, the price realized for the rug may have been an auction record for the Hutchinsons, being the highest auction result Davis could find after the sale.
A Portsmouth, N.H., private collector with an interest in early American furniture and decorative arts consigned several things to the sale, a few of which achieved high enough prices to land them in the top tier of the sale’s results. Among these was a Pilgrim Century spice chest, probably from Pennsylvania, that had a little overpainting to its old red paint and some minor restorations but was otherwise largely original, including its brass hardware. A local dealer paid $7,200, three times its high estimate and the second highest price in the sale.
Another piece from the Portsmouth private collection that scored a high price was an early Eighteenth Century New England red-painted pine candlestand with T-shaped base finished at $3,600. The stand had provenance to both Portsmouth dealer, Hollis Broderick, and Skinner’s August 10, 2013, auction. According to Davis, it sold to a private collector in Tennessee who was making an inaugural buying debut at Casco Bay.
Also selling to another new client in the American south, one in Georgia, was a Southern Sheraton cherrywood sugar chest, that had been acquired at one time in Charleston, S.C. It came to Casco Bay from a Maine storage unit and brought the sweet price of $2,760.
Provenance likely had a hand in the result for an English sampler, worked in silk threads on linen by Jane Reason, in 1748. It had history with the Hartshorne family as well as the November 17, 2012, auction with Northeast Auctions; a dealer and collector local to Casco Bay Auctions paid $2,760 for it, just beyond its high estimate.
Rounding out the top lots for the Portsmouth collection was a Nineteenth Century portrait of a gentleman in a spotted jacket, done in oil on canvas and attributed as possibly the work of William Jennys (1774-1859). A trade buyer in New York prevailed, taking it to $2,880, more than double its high estimate.
Making $3,720 and the third highest price in the sale despite falling a little short of expectations was a Federal inlaid mahogany tall case clock from New Jersey, and signed Joakim Hill, Flemington, New Jersey. It seems a good bargain for the trade buyer who bought it for just a little more than half its low estimate. Another seeming bargain at $3,600 was a New England Chippendale oxbow cherrywood chest of drawers, which will be relocating to Vermont, with a client who had never bid at Casco Bay Auctions before.
An exceptional result compared to expectations was the $3,000 achieved for a lot of two miniature watercolor on ivory portraits in rolled gold cases that came to Casco Bay from a local estate. Another new buyer, this time in Maryland, helped push the miniatures from pre-sale expectations of $60-80.
Not everything in the sale was quite so old, as demonstrated by a painting of the Bridge at Rye Harbor by Elwyn George Gowen (1895-1954), which had been in an exhibition at the Banks Gallery in Portsmouth. Coming from a home in Rye, N.H., it sold to another new buyer and a collector on Cape Cod, for $2,760.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.cascobayauctions.com or 207-370-4746.
Casco Bay Auctions will sell Jewelry, September 13; Twentieth Century & Design, October 1; and Americana, November 12.
January 31, 2023
January 31, 2023
January 31, 2023
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